The small solar thermal power plant is being developed with funding from EU Horizon 2020 Program. The plant is configured around a 2-kWel Organic Rankine Cycle turbine and solar field, made of Fresnel mirrors. The solar field is used to heat thermal oil to the temperature of about 240 °C. This thermal energy is used to run the Organic Rankine Cycle turbine and the heat rejected in its condenser (about 18-kWth) is utilized for hot water production and living space heating.
The plant is equipped with a latent heat thermal storage to extend its operation by about 4 hours during the evening building occupancy period. The phase change material used is Solar salt with the melting/solidification point at about 220 °C. The total mass of the PCM is about 3,800 kg and the thermal storage capacity is about 100 kWh. The operation of the plant is monitored by a central controller unit. The main components of the plant are being manufactured and laboratory tested with the aim to assemble the plant at the demonstration site, located in Catalonia, Spain. At the first stage of investigations the ORC turbine will be directly integrated with the solar filed to evaluate their joint performance. During the second stage of tests, the Latent Heat Thermal Storage will be incorporated into the plant and its performance during the charging and discharging processes will be investigated. It is planned that the continuous filed tests of the whole plant will be performed during the 2018–2019 period.